E-commerce giant eBay has been spectacularly handed new penalties in New South Wales, it has been announced today, with NSW Fair Trading fining the marketplace following NRL Grand Final tickets appearing on its platform - breaching state ticket scalping laws.
The NRL Grand Final between Sydney’s biggest club Parramatta and reigning NRL champions Penrith is set to kick off this Sunday October 2, alongside the NRLW Grand Final between the women’s sides for Parramatta and Newcastle, with anticipation for the event leading to tickets quickly selling out. Despite this, NSW Fair Trading allege, tickets for the event subsequently appeared for sale on e-commerce marketplace platform eBay.
Under amendments added to NSW Fair Trading laws in 2018, it is considered an offence in NSW “to resell a ticket for more than the original retail price, plus transaction costs” for events held at venues in the state.
“To protect consumers, NSW laws require advertisements for the resale of tickets to specify the original cost of the ticket, and a resale price that is no more than 10 per cent above the original cost,” says NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Natasha Mann, “Fair Trading attended the offices of eBay in Sydney and issued a number of penalty notices for tickets being advertised contrary to regulations.”
Fines for individuals found breach NSW’s ticket reselling laws can amount to as much as $22,000, with fines for corporations found in breach of the same laws ranging up to $110,000, with other e-commerce marketplaces and platforms put on notice to not repeat the mistakes alleged on behalf of eBay by NSW Fair Trading.
“Earlier this month, I published a public warning about the risks of ticket scalping at major events like the NRL Grand Final,” says Mann, “NSW Fair Trading is actively monitoring other platforms where Grand Final tickets may be re-sold and will take similar actions where tickets are being sold contrary to NSW laws.”
The exact details of the fines and penalties issued to eBay are unknown at this time and the NSW Fair Trading investigation remains ongoing.
UPDATE: eBay Australia have issued a statement in response to the penalties handed to them by NSW Fair Trading, with a spokesperson for the marketplace saying:
“eBay has clear policies in place in respect of the resale of tickets. When alerted to ticket listings appearing on eBay from NSW Fair Trading yesterday (Thursday 29th September) we moved swiftly to remove them from our marketplace. As of this morning, 48 listings have been taken down and our team will continue monitoring and sweeping for items in the lead up to the NRL Grand Final.
While we have a range of mechanisms in place to monitor for items in breach of our policies, we do rely on reports from our community, including regulators, to help keep our marketplace safe for consumers. To that end in 2021 eBay launched the eBay Regulatory Portal. The portal empowers Australian authorities, including the ACCC, Therapeutic Goods Authority as well as the Victorian Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions responsible for ticket sale regulation in Victoria to efficiently report and remove listings for illegal or unsafe items.
When reported by an agency via this channel the listing is removed automatically without further approval by eBay. We are the only online marketplace in Australia that offers such a service to regulators and we have offered this to NSW Fair Trading.
Considering the tools we have available and our willingness to collaborate it is disappointing that NSW Fair Trading has chosen to issue penalties without providing an opportunity to work together in this instance. This is not the approach we have experienced in other jurisdictions where we work in partnership with regulators to address ticket scalping. We will be responding to NSW Fair Trading’s notice in due course and reiterate our willingness to work with them to address this issue. We encourage consumers not to purchase tickets at inflated prices and if they see any item on eBay that raises concerns to report it via our report item feature.”
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